Friday, January 16, 2009
Several Catalpas grow here. They're a native tree, but these were planted by previous owners, to attract the catalpa worms that are such good fish bait.
One of its country names is Monkey Cigar Tree. Ever since I learned that, the long pods always bring to mind those old smoking monkey toys.
Inside the pods are several seeds, all fringed on the ends.
Looks like twins. (They all do.)
I posted about Catalpas, aka Catabas or Catawbas, and their worms before. They grow naturally by streams, so they don't mind getting their feet wet - the trees in the flood photo last week (on the right) were catalpas.
I thought I'd read that repeated defoliation by the worms didn't harm the trees. Usually, not every tree is defoliated every year. But one that seemed the worms' favorite is now dead. Could just be coincidence though; I don't know how to perform tree autopsies.
The spring we first moved here, I found a hornworm on the porch, and mistook it for a catalpa worm. Oh, so gently did I carry him over to a branch, thinking I was helping him find his true home. I want to slap my head now, remembering that piece of idiocy! It's ok though — confusion to our enemies, and all that.
I wondered if people actually ever lit up the pods, which don't seem very smokable to me. No firm evidence, but I thought it was hilarious that the search turned up an article by my blog friend Ron as the top item. Small world!